The ministry noted that OPCW experts had twice confirmed the absence of prohibited activities at the research facility in Syria’s Barzah
MOSCOW, June 26./TASS/. A report of the technical secretariat of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) demanding access to military infrastructure facilities in Syria was passed under the strongest pressure from the United States, the Russian foreign ministry said on Monday.
“We took notice of the report by Director General of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Ahmet Uzumcu on the implementation of the resolution of the 83rd session of the OPCW Executive Council,” the ministry said. “We have repeatedly said that the reports demands to Syria are beyond the framework of the Chemical Weapons Convention.”
“Attempts to obtain unimpeded and unconditional access for OPCW inspector to any (meaning secret) military and civil infrastructure facilities go far beyond the framework of international law,” the ministry stressed. “Obviously, such a document was passed under the strongest pressure from the United States and its closest allies. It would be interesting to see what the United States would do should anyone seek to inspect its own facilities this way.”
The ministry noted that OPCW experts had twice confirmed the absence of prohibited activities at the research facility in Syria’s Barzah and now the West is seeking to dodge answering the question why it delivered a missile strike on this facility.
“The Syrian government has invited OPCW representatives to visit Barzah more than once to see the damage done to it by the missile strike,” the ministry said. “It would make it possible to make a report to the Executive Council and take a formal decision to stop inspections.”
“But, as we can see from the OPCW report, no constructive steps have been made,” the ministry noted. “Obviously, the Western countries are seeking to dodge answering to a very sensitive question: what were the grounds to deliver a missile strike on this research center once the OPCW had twice confirmed the absence of any activities prohibited by the Chemical Weapons Convention. So, this report constitutes yet another example of the West’s lop-sides juggling with words.”
Reports on the alleged use of a chemical warfare agent in Syria’s Douma on April 7 were circulated by a number of nongovernmental organizations, including the White Helmets. Officials from the Russian Center for Reconciliation of the Opposing Parties in Syria said on April 9 they had not found any traces of chemical weapons during an inspection in Douma.
A day later, the OPCW took a decision to send experts to Syria for verifying the reports from the NGOs. The mission arrived in Damascus on April 14. Several hours prior to their arrival, the US, the UK and France delivered amassed missile strikes on Syria, using the reports on the incident as an apparent pretext. According to the Russian defense ministry, the strikes were targeted at a research center in Damascus, the headquarters of the republican guards, an air defense base, several military aerodromes and army depots. Syria’s air defense systems downed 71 out of 103 missiles. Three civilians were wounded. None of the missiles entered the zone of responsibility of Russian air defense systems in Tartus and Hmeimim. Russian missile defense systems were not used.